LA Cop arrested in DUI crash that killed 3 just hours after he posted anti-DUI video

From Raw Story:

A Los Angeles police officer posted a “don’t drink and drive” Instagram video hours before he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence over a fatal crash that killed three people.

Edgar Verduzco, 26, was speeding on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway in Whittier, southern California, when he struck the back of two cars, one of which was carrying three members of a family, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The car carrying the family burst into flames and killed the three people inside. The victims have since been identified as Mario and Maribel Davila, a married couple, and their 19-year-old son Oscar Davila, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral costs.

Hours before the crash, a video was posted to an Instagram account belonging to Verduzco. The 10-second video featured a cartoon avatar honking the horn of a car, which is captioned #dontdrinkanddrive. The video appears to be shot in a bar; a glass of beer is seen in the background, KTLA 5 reported.

The Instagram account has not been confirmed as belonging to Verduzco, but other photos and videos posted on the account suggest it is his: one post in July has Verduzco’s name badge on display, KTLA 5 reported.

Verduzco was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and vehicular manslaughter and is being held on $100,000 bail, the The Washington Post reported. He suffered a broken nose in the incident.

Read the entire story here:  https://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/la-cop-posted-anti-drink-driving-video-before-crash/

Drunk Driver crashes into … “Report Drunk Driver” sign

cali_drunk_driving_crash

From KWQC.com:

Auto accidents do not get more ironic than this.

The California Highway Patrol says on Wednesday an intoxicated driver plowed over a sign that encourages motorists to report drunk drivers.

Stephen DeWitt, 57, of Aptos is now charged with DUI after police say he rolled his Jeep Wrangler on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County.

Moments before the rollover, officers say DeWitt crashed into a sign that reads, “REPORT DRUNK DRIVERS CALL 911”.

The Santa Cruz CHP took a photo of the sign showing it came to rest lying face-up on the ground.

“He left this behind…Don’t drink and drive, it’s just not worth it!” the CHP posted along with the photo on its Facebook page.

Cook County Jurors: Buy your own breakfast and snacks!

While at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street this week, I saw a memo from Chief Judge Timothy Evans that was left “in plain view” as the police like to say.

It said that due to budget cuts, Cook County jurors would no longer get breakfast and snacks for the rest of the year.  Even with the reinstatement of the “soda tax.”  It also said that it was expected that this cutback would likely become permanent in all future budgets.

So, to all you Cook County jurors out there:  if you want a cup of coffee and a croissant in the morning, you’d better stop off somewhere else because you aren’t getting it at court.

Trump Lawyers Carelessness is a Useful Reminder for Lawyers

Before I went to law school, I spent a couple of years working as a “project assistant” at a major Chicago law firm.  My fellow assistants and I were sent to a mandatory training that included a segment on client confidentiality.  Over a quarter century later, I can still remember what we were told about it:  never speak about the firms’ cases to outsiders and be exceptionally careful when discussing matters outside of the office.  This included conversations between fellow employees while outside of the office.  To emphasize the point, we were told the story about some associate attorneys who were discussing a case in a restaurant located in the office building lobby.  Unbeknownst to them, legal counsel for the client company was sitting within earshot.  The story did not have a happy ending.

With that in mind, you can imagine how flabbergasted I was to hear that two of the President’s lawyers had a heated conversation about the Mueller investigation while at the outside sidewalk dining area of a popular Washington D.C. steakhouse.  A steakhouse that is on the same block as the N.Y. Times’ Washington office.

The resulting story “Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate with Russia Inquiry” became a major scoop for the “Failing N.Y. Times” and a major embarrassment to the President’s lawyers.

So I hope that all the lawyers who read this blog will take this as a refresher about talking about your clients in public places.  Save that for the office.  There are plenty of other things to talk about, like when will Mitch Trubiskey get a start?

As new Cook County bail order goes into effect, Central Bond Court gets revamped

Earlier this summer, Chief Judge Timothy Evans issued General Order 18.8A, which went into effect today for felony cases (it won’t go into effect in misdemeanor cases until January 1, 2018).

The key change is that unless a defendant poses “a  real and present threat” to persons or is unlikely to appear in court, the “presumption [is] that any conditions of release imposed shall be non-monetary in nature, and the court shall impose the least restrictive conditions or combination of conditions necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant for further court proceedings.”

In order to implement these changes, Judge Evans has swapped out the entire roster of judges who handled Central Bond Court.  He also changed the name — now it will be called the “Pre-Trial Division.”  The new Division will be headed by long-time Felony Judge John Kirby, and assigned to the division will be Sophia Atcherson, Michael R. Clancy, John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Mary C. Marubio, Stephanie K. Miller and David R. Navarro.

Here is a link to a story about this change in today’s Chicago Sun-Times.

Lake County Sheriff pleads guilty to making false statement in a DUI hearing

From the Chicago Tribune (Jim Newton reporting):

A former Lake County sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of court charges Wednesday for lying under oath during a misdemeanor DUI hearing last year in Lake County Circuit Court.

As a result of the plea, the state dropped felony perjury charges against 28-year-old Justin Hill, of Kenosha, and he was sentenced to a 90-day jail term that was stayed as long as he completes other conditions of his sentence.

Hill also was sentenced to a period of conditional discharge during which he must perform 100 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine and donate $500 to Lake County CrimeStoppers.

The sentence was handed down by Kane County Judge David Kliment after Lake County judges recused themselves from the case because the charges stemmed from proceedings in Lake County Circuit Court.

According to prosecutors, Hill was charged for lying under oath while he was being cross-examined by the defendant in the misdemeanor DUI case, in which the defendant was acting as his own attorney.

Defense attorney Thomas Briscoe said after the plea deal that Hill admitted he lied about whether he had contacted or attempted to contact the defendant in the case prior to the DUI hearing.

Briscoe said that Hill maintains he lied to protect an informant or informants related to another case he was doing on his own without the knowledge of the Lake County sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said Wednesday that Hill’s position as a deputy was terminated June 2

…Sheriff’s office officials said inconsistencies were allegedly discovered in Hill’s testimony during a Nov. 2 civil court DUI hearing on the potential statutory summary suspension of a DUI defendant’s driving license….

Read the entire story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-lake-deputy-perjury-plea-st-0914-20170913-story.html

Utah nurse arrested for refusing to draw blood for police

Doctors and nurses are supposed to be health care providers, not arms of the police state.  Yet, these days, many police officers think differently.

From NBC news:

A Utah nurse who refused to give a patient’s blood to police — and then was handcuffed and carried into a patrol car in an escalating incident — held an emotional news conference Thursday demanding better training by law enforcement.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things,” said Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital and a former Olympic athlete, as she wiped away tears.

“And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker,” she added. “The only job I have is to keep my patients safe.”

The July 26 encounter at the Salt Lake City hospital — in which Wubbels pleaded, “Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong!” — has prompted an internal police investigation.

Police bodycam videos released during Wubbels’ news conference showed the officer — later identified as Det. Jeff Payne — growing increasingly impatient as she tried to explain, according to hospital protocol, why she couldn’t draw an unconscious patient’s blood for a police investigation.

She told the officers gathered in the middle of the hospital’s work area that they need either an electronic warrant, patient consent or to be placing the patient under arrest if they want access to his blood.

The patient had been a driver in an earlier truck crash, and was badly burned and comatose at the hospital, reported NBC affiliate KSL-TV. Vials of his blood were needed as part of the investigation to determine whether the patient had illicit substances in his system at the time of the crash, according to a written report obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

n the videos, which may have been edited, Wubbels holds her ground about drawing blood. Payne then suddenly snapped.

“No, we’re done,” he said. “You’re under arrest, we’re going!”

He is seen pulling her arms behind her and places handcuffs around her wrists before yanking her to the back of the patrol car. He said she obstructed justice.

“Please sir, you’re hurting me,” Wubbels said.

“Then walk,” Payne responded.

Wubbels, from inside the car, screamed for help and that “I did nothing wrong!”

Other officers from the University of Utah and the Department of Public Safety, which provide security for the hospital, did not intervene during the arrest, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Wubbels was later released and no criminal charges were filed against her.

Payne, who remains on active duty with Salt Lake City police but has been suspended from the blood draw program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Salt Lake City police spokeswoman said the department has been working closely with the hospital to ensure such actions never happen again and that it is alarmed by what occurred.

Read the whole story here:  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-nurse-arrested-refusing-give-patient-s-blood-police-n798021

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